JPL Lunch with NASA Dryden

At lunch today, I decided to venture out and try talking to people. Engineers at JPL are very quiet, but nice once you start up a conversation. At least that’s my experience. Not a single person looked at me for more than a second, and none of them said anything other than one person who said, “May I sit here?” and then was silent after that. Is it typical of the adult world for them not to initiate conversation? Anyway, I spoke with David J Oberhettinger, who works with the Chief Engineer and told me about a computer that he worked on when he first came to JPL some 19 years ago. It was near the age of 3-by-5 punch cards, apparently. And he used to be a contractor for Northrop Grumman, but as of 2 years ago, has worked solely for JPL.

A group of college students came in, from various locations across the US. New Mexico, Cincinnati, etc. They’re visiting from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, some 2 hours north of LA. They do sonic booms, plane research, etc. I talked with Paulo J Younse, who works in Robotics and had given a speech to the Dryden folks (but I wasn’t around to hear that). It was by pure chance that I was sitting at the table they all came and sat down at. They’re an interesting group, just visiting JPL for the day, for a tour. They have a friend named Dmitriy who worked at Dryden for 4 months last summer, but is working at JPL now.


I also talked with Lena, who will be going to Berkeley in the fall majoring in Chemical Engineering. She is learning Matlab and HTML in her free time, so I told her about XHTML/CSS, which she hadn’t really heard of. Separating a page’s content from its design (style) is a good basis for effective web development, so I enjoyed telling her about it. She works at Dryden Monday thru Friday, then at a local Donut Shop on weekends, so she has a 7-day work week. Reminds me the work I really should be doing for OSAF. She lives in the Dryden area, and wants to go work at Ames in the future for the different experience.

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